What Is Data Retention?

Written by Caitlin Davidson

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Data Retention Defined

Data retention, also known as records retention, is the process through which governments and businesses record and store various data.

A business may retain data for several different reasons, including to comply with state and federal regulations and to provide the organization with the ability to recover business critical data in the event of a site-wide data loss.

Minimum records retention regulations vary by state and by data type, but typically range from three years to permanent.

To ensure that all necessary data is stored properly, an organization can create a data retention policy. A data retention policy is a set of guidelines that describes what data will be archived and for how long.

When writing a data retention policy, business will need to determine how to:

  • Organize information so it can be searched and accessed at a later date
  • Dispose of information that is no longer needed

In Data Defined, we help make the complex world of data more accessible by explaining some of the most complex aspects of the field.

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